-by Andrew Strom.

When I was a young Christian I was a total zealot. There is nothing wrong with that, but sadly I was often a zealot without wisdom – and also WITHOUT LOVE. I cared for “truth” more than I cared for people, and I did not even notice that I was often using Truth as a sword to crush people with, rather than set them free.

A lot of young zealous Christians are like that – but I was particularly bad because I had a ‘prophetic’-type personality – very intense, very black and white. I would walk into a room full of Christians and start an argument at the drop of a hat. I was not afraid to “blast” anyone. Truth was king – the most important thing – and that was all I cared about. This was not just an “occasional” problem with me – this was the way I lived and breathed. Total, all-out zealotry.

I do not have this approach to life any more – though I still care deeply about truth. (-For that is the way God made me). Sometimes I will still debate things with people – though very rarely.

Over the years God changed me utterly. In fact, to change my hardened heart He had to break me and break me and break me some more. And each time He did so, a little bit of LOVE got in. I’m sure He is still doing so today.

I started to realize that from God’s point of view, the most precious thing in all the earth is PEOPLE. We can see this in the most famous verse in the Bible- “For God SO LOVED the world….” There it is – He so LOVES PEOPLE. He sent His son to die for PEOPLE. That is what it is all about.

There is an old Maori saying from New Zealand, which I have to love- “The most valuable thing in all the world is PEOPLE, it is PEOPLE, it is PEOPLE.”

And yet to me in those early years, it was not “people” that I deeply cared about at all. The only thing I deeply valued was the ‘Truth’ that I was trying to put across that day. And so I attacked and spiritually “hacked” at people all day long. I was a walking nightmare.

Do you realize the sheer amount of ‘breaking’ that has to go on in someone like that – to get them to LOVE? -Years and years of awful crushing and brokenness. -Because I was SO BAD – seriously – I was a danger to the church and to myself.

If you love your ‘Truths’ more than you love people, then you are an out-and-out Pharisee. Nothing less. And you will create condemnation and death in people, rather than ‘conviction’ and LIFE.

But if you can get BROKEN enough to truly LOVE PEOPLE – and value them more than anything in this earth – and then speak Truth to them out of that place of love – then you will become greatly effective. It is all about becoming BROKEN and learning to LOVE others from the heart. If you ask Him to, God will do “whatever it takes” to get you to that place.

This is not to say that you will never speak direct or piercing words. You will – but the whole motivation will be different. In fact, EVERYTHING will be different. You may be very confronting, and speak very direct truths – but it will be in the right spirit. And this God can greatly anoint.

I got a disturbing email recently from a relative of someone on our List who says that this person uses some of the things we send out as “ammunition” to attack people or argue or divide from them, etc. Listen, friends, you can do anything with Truth. You can use it to beat people up or set them free. You can use it to become the most “negative” person on the planet, or you can allow it to break your heart and make you a closer follower of Jesus. You can use it in love, or you can use it in zealous self-righteousness to hammer and condemn people. It is up to you – and the true state of your heart.

All I can pray is that those reading this will stop and consider for a moment. Don’t be like me, and take years to discover these most basic things.

Let me ask you a simple question- Do you truly LOVE PEOPLE more than the ‘Truths’ you are trying to make them listen to? Do you value them as God does – and realize that He sees them as the most precious thing in all the earth? (-Especially His children).

How deeply can we come to realize this truth – that GOD LOVES PEOPLE. Yes – repeat it – “GOD LOVES PEOPLE”. -And so must we, if we are to represent Him on this planet.

Please PRAY about these things, my friends?

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Posted in Articles by Andrew on August 12th, 2012 at 12:07 pm.


28 Replies

  1. Certainly look forward to all the comments!

  2. katrinka Apr 24th 2010

    I’m SO glad you wrote about this. Years ago, when I first became aware of the activity of satanists in our churches, I was paranoid, trying to identify those who served the Enemy. The Lord spoke to me very clearly and said: LOVE PEOPLE AND TRUST GOD. The ones who serve the Enemy need to be loved into the Kingdom, and if there’s any identifying to do, the Holy Spirit with reveal what I need to know.
    Lord bless you!

    PS: I like the site… it has an interesting approach!

  3. I’ve had to fight that kind of spirit many times being raised in a holiness church. I’m glad for my background though because it helps us overcome the love for the world. I’m big on discernment and not using the grace scriptures for a license to sin but do have to remember to have love and compassion or all else is for nothing like the 13th chapter of Corinthians reminds us. I don’t believe it was an accident that chapter 13 is right between chapters 12 and 14 which speak of the gifts of the spirit. Paul was right on the mark.

  4. gloria Apr 25th 2010

    Love is a weapon against the enemy , he hates it, because it can overcome.

  5. jhmac77 Apr 28th 2010

    This reminds me of the pastor in the movie “Hawaii” He was mostly truth without love. He spoke of “hell fire and damnation” without love and in the end his wife left him because of his legalism. Jesus said “He who is without sin cast the first stone”

  6. patspatspats Apr 28th 2010

    This is my most favourite post that I have ever read of yours :) full of Gods heart for his lost :) just beautiful.

  7. anthony May 1st 2010

    I can relate to this(Good post),can even testify to having annoyed people into the Kingdom over the years which must be a special work of God’s grace.Now having recently reached 67 yrs i can look back and see how the twin anvils of life and ministry have changed me.Encouraged to realise afresh that we are all a work in progress until that glorious day when we will be like Him.

  8. Gail Pritchard May 2nd 2010

    Wow! Andrew you have just written my testimony word for word. God is truly teaching His people to trust Him more with the outcomes and to just be vessels of His love. It certainly freeing to finally realise we don’t have correcy every wrong we see in others. Love and acceptance opens peoples hearts ready to receive truth, Truth without love just closes hearts.

  9. allanv May 2nd 2010

    Certain approaches come out of the prevailing culture and early work experience. Every one learns to have a degree of combativeness and aggression.

    I have often heard the phrases “harden up” and “get over it.” This would mean to be hardhearted and less sensitive.

    The one that usually sprang into my mind was “batten down the hatches” It is more about retaining some sensitivity.

    The scripture says we should wear the full amour of God. And this is to retain a true heart toward God.

  10. Well said, Andrew. It really comes down to both. Truth and Love. For we cannot reach those lost without truth and we cannot do it without love. Truth without love is cruel. Love without truth is meaningless.

  11. A lot of the people that have had near death experiences that meet God and talk to him come back with testemonies along the same theme. God showed them that it is about the way you treat people, peoples’ feelings and relationships. One of the reasons that God shows people that these things are important to Him is that God is like that too and He treats peoples feelings the same way that He teaches them to.

  12. Semi Meo May 2nd 2010

    eh….we are not going down humanism and secular psychology roads here..are we??…would Jesus agree with the “Maori’ saying quoted that “ The most valuable thing in all the world is PEOPLE”?..the article seems ambiguous on measuring the Truth and People on the value scale..as it is, people..eh..love for people seems relegates Truth to a diplomatic convenience to attempt love the lost….I say… Mathew 11:12) The Kingdom of God suffers violence and violent men take it by force.

  13. It’s a delicate balance, truth spoken in love. I’ve had to examine my own heart, as I deal with the complacency in the church, trying to speak the truth in love. I’m glad to hear that you’ve had your encounter with God on this subject. I had just told my wife how hard core you were, blasting the church. Then we read your article together. I’m praying that God will use your prophetic voice to wake the church up, that we will see some real change. Be Blessed Brother.

  14. Heezmyhope May 4th 2010

    THis is a MUCH needed article! I too was a zealot who’s zealousness caused many great pain. I didn’t realize it then, but I have repented many times for it since. Love is truly the answer and the foundation! It is also the weapon that causes the devil to FLEE!

    I have visited many forums of late…looking for a body that I can call a family. It has been a very difficult and painful experience. There is a severe lack of love in so many… I have witnessed again and again where the goal seemed to be being right about doctrine at all expense. Bitter arguments of destruction… It breaks my heart.

    I know longer desire to argue doctrinal issues as my confidence is in the Lord to reveal Himself to all who will earnestly seek Him. I now desire to walk in His love… The Lord knows…I am still a work in progress…but I have no doubt that He will finish the work He has begun in me! What an awesome God!

    The Lord richly bless you all!

  15. Read the last two paragraphs of the 4 th chapter of J I Packer’s book :Knowing God – it will encourage you.

  16. Looking Up May 5th 2010

    Let us all remember John 3:16 and how great His love and compassion was for all of us who also are undeserving and were dead in trespasses and sin.. If we do not have that same love and concern for our fellow man we should really question our own standing with the Father. If one is not witnessing, sharing the gospel or admonishing error, out of genuine love and heartfelt concern for their neighbors, then are they not doing it for their own glory? Unless one is led of the Holy Spirit and given a genuine burden for that work, is it not vain for one to think that his criticism or condemnation of a person (without manifesting God’s love) will lead that person to Christ or correction? Let’s all thank God that His mercies are new every morning and His compassions fail not! (Lam 3:22-24)

  17. The only thing I can say is that even though my motives were to help others flee from deception, there were many times I spoke and was presumtuous when I should have kept my mouth shut. It is a difficult and painful lesson to learn that just because I might know the truth about somthing, the Lords timing in the matter, and the heart of the hearer being ready to recieve is of the utmost importance. When I think of the times I did what Andrew used to, just argue with anyone,just for the sake of truth, it breaks my heart. I just decided on my own ,( the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,) to share my wisdom. I have found out the hard way that even when I know to do what is right in a given situation, or when I think I know, It is not for me to decide. Oh the wounded.
    Isaiah 42;3
    A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

  18. tg777 May 5th 2010

    Thank you & amen….appreciate your article Andrew and encouraged reading the comments. Love never fails.

  19. I was a zealot. I lost all my pre-Christain friends because I just kept sharing what God was doing this very second. You know when you first get saved and/or come back God is like right there and everything is just WOW so I shared. People didn’t want to hear the latest thing I got out of the Bible and eventually moved on…I would like to say a LOT of them way later got saved. So I did plant a seed.

    I can see a persons sin/gift in under 10 seconds usually. If I pray for them God usually goes deeper or to a family member. Before I was saved I thought everyone did this, I learned not everyone can or does do this so I keep Gods counsel and only did what He really really really shoved me to say. And let me tell you I mean shove.

    Needless to say today I am so broken I told God ‘I’m broken you made me please fix me’. I went from zealot to total burn out and that makes me cry so very much.

  20. Wingedlion May 5th 2010

    When man fell, he was given the knowledge of good and evil. In the scheme of salvation we understand about being saved from the evil aspect of our fallen nature, but what about the good? We try to “Love” in the strength and energy of our flesh and find that it is lacking of the divine love that Christ commanded us to walk in. The “good” in our flesh must be offered up to crucifixion as well as the evil aspect of our fallen nature; this is what the sermon on the mound tries to show us, that even though the Law states we are to love our enemies, within our own self, we are lacking in that ability. Anytime God shows us a lack in our ability it is a call to take up our cross, and follow Him to be cruicified and to confess to our Lord that we cannot fulfill the righteousness that Grace demands, and therefore we need the circumcision of the flesh to cut away our own fallen “Old man” and put on the Lord Jesus Christ to allow us to walk in divine life.

  21. Rosie Posie May 5th 2010

    As a First Nation woman we know only too well about well meaning Christians and their truth. As believers we need to walk in love, that is what “covers a multitude of sins.” It’s taken me and my husband into many “dark” places. We are to be light in this dark world. We, as believers, have a lot to learn from our people. They have faith. Faith takes the place of fear. Fear judges and says, “surely Creator can’t take care of this!” Love is what is needed. Love is what tears down division like no other weapon. I encourage you brethren to have faith.

  22. Semi Meo May 6th 2010

    Well, what more can we say if posted and dates in this esteemed column are probably “doctored” to suite some people.
    But I guess…the other balance is ..eh.. love.…what love…like “open rebuke is better than love concealed”??….makes one think.
    But..all’s good..!!

  23. Wayne May 6th 2010

    There is only one sure way to know the truth. It is in the Word of God. Jesus said in John 8:32, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” There is no other way to be sure that we can escape deception in these days except that we know and apply the truth of God’s Word, the Scripture.
    In John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    The Bible clearly teaches that it is impossible to lead people, either the NON christian or the deluded person falsely, by Bible standards, claiming to be a christian, to a saving knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ without making the TRUTH of the Word of God paramount. It is impossible to truly LOVE people and compromise on the Word of God in any way as FALSE HOPE IS NO HOPE AT ALL.

  24. Wayne May 6th 2010

    The Lord Jesus will only return for those who are faithful to His Word until the very end.

    “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Ps 138:2) This verse clearly shows the importance which God places on His Word.

    2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (King James Version)
    11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
    12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
    Definition Of Lust – The Love Of Unrighteousness
    2 Thessalonians 2:12. The definition of lust includes loving things that are not of God.
    You lust when you have pleasure in something that does not line up with the Word of God. When you partake in the pleasures of unrighteousness, you are rejecting God’s truth – FALSE RELIGION IS REJECTING THE TRUTH OF THE WORD OF GOD.
    (2 Thessalonians 2:12, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”,).
    The ONLY way to show TRUE love to people is to be uncompromising in presenting the TRUTH of the Word of God. What people choose to do with that truth is ultimately between them and God. It is absolutely inevitable that personal
    accountability for what we do with the Truth faces all of us on the Judgement Day. Commitment to the Word of God now is much better than eternity in hell and that is where God intends to send those who refuse to faithfully and consistently apply the Word of God to their lives. There is NO room for mushy sentimentality when we are facing the eternal judgement of God.

  25. tg777 May 6th 2010

    “Read the last two paragraphs of the 4 th chapter of J I Packer’s book :Knowing God – it will encourage you”….

    i had those two paragraphs highlighted also.
    J I Packer’s “Knowing God”…last two paragraphs; chapter 4:

    “You may say, how can I tell you? Well, the test is this. The God of the Bible has spoken in His Son. The light of the knowledge of His glory is given to us in the face of Jesus Christ. Do I look habitually to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ as showing me the final truth about the nature and grace of God? Do I see all the purposes of God as centering upon Him?

    If I have been able to see this, and in mind and heart to go to Calvary and lay hold of the Calvary solution, then I can know that I truly worship the true God, and that He is my God, and that I am even now enjoying eternal life, according to our Lord’s own definition, “Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

  26. Rosie Posie May 6th 2010

    Andrew, thank you for the post and being teachable. The Lord teaches those who really want to learn. I use to be just like you until the Lord set me free and allowed me the grace to increase my faith. I’ve come to recognize how much fear binds people. I just do what I’m called to do, part of that is traveling internationally like u do and sharing the truth…the real truth. We are not of this world, we are Ambassadors of the Most High, Sojourners on this land, Citizens of heaven…we are passing through. That is our worldview. Amen.

  27. Wayne May 7th 2010

    It is impossible to truly LOVE people and compromise on the Word of God in any way as FALSE HOPE IS NO HOPE AT ALL.

  28. tg777 May 7th 2010

    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13